I won’t lie, I was a little nervous going into this game. I was not sure what to expect and I’ve been trying to temper my expectations for this season. I have found that if I let myself get too wrapped up into believing in something that ultimately fails, I have such a harder crash and burn. I’m just trying to enjoy this season for the football entertainment rather than setting myself up for the emotional turmoil that is Texas Tech fandom.
Having said that, yesterday’s game felt good. There were plenty of aggravating moments, but looking back, that was to be expected with this essentially revamped offense and improved defense. Let’s dive into the 5 key stats from yesterday’s win over the Eastern Washington Eagles.
— 35 —
That is the total number of pass attempts from all three Tech quarterbacks. Shimonek attempted 30, Carter 3, and Duffey 2. Shimonek went 26/30, 384 yards, 3 TDs. All four incompletions on the day came from Shimonek, and somehow saying that sounds like I’m implying that Shimonek didn’t have a good day, which he obviously did.
Also, if you would have told me going into this game that all QBs would combine for 35 attempts, I would have expected a lower score. From those 35 attempts, Tech was able to gain 449 yards through the air, good for 12.8 yards per ATTEMPT. Yards per completion were up near 15. This was a very efficient performance through the air for all 3 QBs.
— 40 (38) —
The number of carries the offense combined for against the Eagles. Texas Tech ran the ball 3 more times than it threw. This could be attributed to the large lead and that Tech was running the clock for much of the second half, but when was the last time Tech legitimately ran the ball more times than they threw it? Again, I’m not sure if this was how the offense will operate this year under Shimonek, if this was a due to the lead, or some combination.
While Tech ran the ball 38 times, the running game was just OK. The RBs averaged 5.2 yards per carry, which is pretty decent. Removing the sack yardage of Shimonek from the rushing totals, Tech ran for 196 yards and 3 TDs. I will take that production EVERY week if we can get it. Desmond Nisby led the way in terms of yards with 57 (on 6 carries, good for 9.5 YPC!). Stockton carried the ball the most times with 8 carries, racking up 47 yards (5.9 YPC). Tre King looked good in his time in the backfield. Overall, the running game just looked better than 2016, but with room for improvement.
— +3 —
Texas Tech did not turn the ball over on offense and forced 3 turnovers on defense, including forcing and recovering a fumble on EWU’s first offensive play of the game. The Tech offense took care of the ball and the QBs didn’t seem to makee questionable throws into coverage.
The defensive turnovers were just beautiful to see. Arkansas transfer Willie Sykes, with the pick 6, was just magnificent. Tony Jones intercepting a pass from his rush end position was an impressive physical feat (and not that Sykes’ wasn’t impressive, because he caught his as he was turning around, essentially with one hand).
Texas Tech is +7 in turnover margin over their last two games (going back to the Baylor game in 2016). Keep this up, and Tech will be in decent shape.
— 81 —
The Texas Tech defense allowed just 81 yards on the ground today. Yes, it was against an FCS opponent, but even Sam Houston State in 2016 was able to find success on the ground. The defense was able to contain the runners to a paltry 2.3 yards per carry. In fact, the defense only surrendered 301 total yards. It wasn’t uncommon for Tech to have given up 300 yards on the ground last year.
This will certainly be something to track through the season, as the overall success of this team will hinge on the defensive improvements, namely if they can keep everyone and their moms from being able to run the ball at will.
— 11 —
I will be willing to chalk this up to first game jitters if they truly turn this around in the season, but so far, this is more of a trend than an exception. Tech committed 11 penalties for a combined total yardage of 120. I don’t care who you’re playing, that is a lot of penalties and a lot of yards to be giving up. Tech will need to trim these down and combine that with the improved total/rushing defense and turnover margin if they hope to make a bowl and save Kingsbury’s job.